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Strong finish gives Falcons win over Regi
Posted: January 14th, 2014 @ 10:44pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
The distinction was striking.
The Regiopolis Notre Dame team that methodically took its senior basketball game away from the Frontenac Falcons in the third quarter Tuesday afternoon bore little resemblance to the Panthers who played the fourth with a gas tank that had suddenly gone dry.
As a result, the home team fell to the visiting Falcons, 56-46, in one of four Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association games.
"Our ball movement got stagnant," lamented Regi coach Ed Kenney. "We played so well in the third quarter. We were trying to go half to baseline, what we call north-south, and if you remember the baskets in the third quarter they were all (on plays) headed to the basket.
"Then all of a sudden we started (going) east-west. The Frontenac kids kept playing more and more forward, and with that, as we dribbled the ball side to side, we kept dribbling or passing into their defence."
Frontenac appeared poised to put the game away early, taking a 9-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Three times in the second quarter the Falcons led by 10 points, only to have Regi claw its way back into the game. When Eli Deluzio stole the ball and went in to score at the first-half buzzer, the Panthers had closed to 28-24.
Regi quickly tied the game at the start of the second half and led by as much as five points but when Frontenac's Quincy Saunders-Scholes hit a three-point basket in the closing seconds of the third quarter it tied the game. The Falcons hit the first basket of the fourth quarter, Regi quickly took back the lead on a three-pointer by Enzo Romeo but Frontenac soon went ahead 45-44.
The Falcons' lead was three points when Regi called time out with four minutes to play. Exactly one minute elapsed - without either team scoring - when Frontenac called time out. From there the Falcons went on a 9-of-11 run to close the game.
In the seven or so minutes after Romeo's three-pointer, Regi managed to score just two points. The Panthers, who had three players come down with the flu in the previous 24 hours, had just one senior sub and two junior callups on the bench and Kenney allowed that fatigue may have become a factor.
"It might have hit us mentally as much as physically," he said. "I'm sure we were tired. We still competed for rebounds - but mentally our execution on offence (was off) and that's probably as important when you're tired as anything. It's hard to think your way through the tough spots.
"It was a very physical game and Frontenac is well coached and very aggressive. Obviously they wanted to put some pressure on our younger guys and in the fourth quarter, when the bad happened, we were pretty tired mentally."
Falcons coach Suche James had some problems of his own. His top rebounder, Dylan Patterson, turned an ankle in the first half and played very little after that. His replacement, Saunders-Scholes, got his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter.
"We were beaten up but you wouldn't know it by the way we played," he said. "We were in trouble in a lot of different ways. The kids just gutted it out."
James marvelled at the determination displayed by his players.
"At the beginning of the year, if you'd asked me how mentally tough we were, at that moment in time when we lost the lead, I would have said we would just fold up ship and be done.
"For whatever reason, a couple of weeks ago when we played La Salle, we all of a sudden found a different gear. These kids are way tougher than I thought they were ever going to be. It's a credit to them. It's not anything else except these kids are good character kids.
"I don't see us winning that game without a group of kids who are tough upstairs."
The timeout with four minutes left that preceded the game-clinching spurt was called, James said, simply to give his players a rest.
"Under the circumstances, I'm not taking any timeouts with me," he said. "There was no x's and o's stuff. That was just a timeout to rest our guys and maybe talk over a few things."
Aidan Stride scored 16 points to lead Frontenac, eight of them in the first quarter. Carter Matheson finished with 14, 12 of them in the first half, and Saunders-Scholes scored 11. Jacob Veenstra came off the bench to score six points in that game-clinching run in the fourth quarter.
Frontenac had no answer for Regi's Duncan Lambert in the third quarter, when he scored 12 of his team's 17 points. He finished with a game-high 19, while Connor Santoni scored 11 and Romeo finished with 10, including a pair of threes.
* * *
Elsewhere Tuesday, the Sydenham Golden Eagles posted the upset of the year, a 59-58 win over the previously undefeated La Salle Black Knights, and the Bayridge Blazers evened their record at 4-4 with a 53-40 win over the Loyalist Lancers.
The Sydenham win - the Eagles' third in seven games and the first after consecutive losses to KC, Holy Cross and Frontenac - drops La Salle into a three-way tie with Frontenac and the idle Kingston Blues at 6-1 but that may prove to be moot, since the Knights have already beaten KC, Frontenac and Holy Cross, at 5-1 the only other team in the league with just one loss.
Playing at LC, Adil Shahzad, with 13 points, Austin Macklem, with 12, and Derek Platt, with 11, all reached double figures in a balanced Bayridge attack. Kaelan Ingersoll scored nine points to lead Loyalist, which dropped its fourth game in a row to fall to 2-6.
League play resumes Thursday, when the significant games will be Frontenac at KC - where the Blues will be back in their own gym - at 3:30 p.m.; Holy Cross, 5-1, at Regi, 5-2, at 7:30, and Sydenham playing at Loyalist, where both teams will be playing to avoid eighth place and a first-round playoff date with La Salle, at 5:30.
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